Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
17 ratings

Sunday - September 21, 2008

From: Silver Creek, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Are berries of American Beautyberry poisonous?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an American Beautyberry Plant and I need to know if the purple berries are toxic - we have dogs and I wouldn't want them to eat them. Thanks for any information you may have on this plant.

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) doesn't appear in any of our favorite toxic plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Texas Toxic Plant Database

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants Database

Plus, none of the lists specific for dogs (Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and Doberdogs) that I found has it named.

Here is what Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says, however, about eating American beautyberry:

"I have found several sources stating that the fruit is safe to eat, and several stating that it is inedible....I have talked to one woman who reported feeling slight nausea after eating beauty-berry jelly.  Personally, I discourage its use for food.  The raw fruit has an unpleasant flavor."

Since it isn't listed on any toxic database, I wouldn't think your dogs would be in any danger from eating a few berries.  They probably aren't something the dogs would like to eat anyway and you could always remove the majority of the berries from the bushes if they do seem to be interested in eating them.


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Identification of tart fruit that looks like a pumpkin
December 10, 2016 - As a child, in Miami, Florida, in the 1950's, another child challenged me to eat a "fruit" that looked like a pumpkin. It was just a little bigger than those candy pumpkins we see now at Halloween, a...
view the full question and answer

Who ate the Jack-in-the-Pulpit in Ontario?
July 07, 2009 - Something has dug up my clump of Jack-in-the-pulpit at my parents' cottage in the Haliburtons (Ontario, Canada). Leaves, berries and roots are gone. We know we have a black bear who likes our compo...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine in El Paso, Texas
November 23, 2012 - I live in Del Rio Texas - Zone 8/9 and I have a vine which can't be identified. It looks like a morning glory white flower with crimson throat, but the leaf pattern is like a 5-7 fingered hand with d...
view the full question and answer

Dog eats Celtis laevigata, sugar hackberry
May 21, 2012 - This is an odd question but I am a biologist and have for years notice an odd behavior in my Golden Retriever. When he gets stomach distress or something makes him nervous like an incoming thunderstor...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.